CONCERT REVIEW: Anna Von Hausswollf at the Atlas Theater, 12.4.13

Ceremony
Ceremony

Last night I saw Swedish composer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Von Hausswolff in concert at the Atlas Theater in Washington, DC. She mostly accompanied herself on the organ, and along with her three-piece band (guitar, drums and synthesizer) crafted complex post rock soundscapes that drew from folk, liturgical and progressive metal musics. At times, it sounded like Nico fronting Sigur Ros. But the Nico comparison only counts for Hausswolff’s use of the organ (Nico played the harmonium). Hausswolff’s voice has more range; she can sing operatically or wail like a post-punk banshee, sometimes in the same song. The setlist included most of her album Ceremony; at least two of the songs were dense, funereal instrumentals. Most of the time, Hausswolff sat behind her organ and head-thrashed along to the music, an arresting visual, given her extremely long blonde hair. She stood up on two songs, respectively playing the acoustic guitar and tambourine. With her all black velvet dress and long hair, she looked like Stevie Nicks circa 1976. If you like gothic/experimental/ethereal music, be sure to check her out. Recommend for fans of Nico, Dead Can Dance, and Sigur Ros.